Good stuff! I agree with pretty much all the main points you guys brought up, though I see both sides of the reference/homage debate. Personally they didn't bother me too much or detract from my enjoyment of the film, but given how many of them there are I can certainly see that not being true for others.
And yeah one of the things I've always loved about the film is how much it introduces without going into detail about. As you said, "the Space Jockey effect". I've always felt that the lore side of Predator works best with a lot of mystery and questions, so I really liked that we basically got no explanations for any of the new stuff that we saw. Are these new Predators a different clan? A sub-species? Genetically modified? Why are they feuding with the classic ones? Did the drill belong to the Predators, or some other alien race? Who knows! It does what the first two films did in that it makes these small but significant contributions to the lore but doesn't over-explain them, allowing us fans to ponder all sorts of possibilities, and that's great.
I thought KNB did outstanding work as well, especially considering the time constraints they were under. I loved the look of the Super/Berserker Preds, with masks and without, and classic/Crucified looked awesome, as did the Hell Hounds and River Ghost.
And on the topic of "Super Predators", it definitely always felt to me like some people held that name against this film in a "nu-uh, the classics are the best! How dare they and act like these new ones are better! There's nothing super about them at all!" kind of way. I stayed away from any pre-release leaks or spoilers, but it's definitely an attitude I've noticed in the years since.
Either way I've always liked the film. The first two will always be sort of in a league of their own as far as style and nostalgia and all that are concerned, but I've always felt that Predators was a worthy sequel and it's always been something I've been glad exists. It's a shame indeed that we never got a direct sequel.